Georgia Bulldogs at less than full strength for Outback Bowl
TAMPA – Greetings from Raymond James Stadium. It is an absolutely gorgeous day for football. It’s relatively cool for here, 64 degrees, with blustery conditions that possibly could impact the kicking game. But it’s clear and sunny and pretty much beautiful.
I was pretty surprised and impressed by the crowds that have shown up for the game. Traffic was backed up from the stadium all the way down Dale Mabry Boulevard and onto I-275 two hours before the game. Just based on flags and banners it looked fairly evenly distributed between the green of Michigan State and the red and black of Georgia. It will be interesting to see what it looks like once all the spectators are in their seats.
As for the Bulldogs, here’s what you need to know as we prepare for kickoff:
- Redshirt freshman Ken “Boo” Malcome of Decatur is slated to get the second start of his career at tailback. Malcome beat out Isaiah Crowell, Richard Samuel and Carlton Thomas during bowl practices to earn the nod. Malcome last started the Georgia Tech game. Samuel and Crowell are coming off of ankle injuries. And, yes, Crowell is present and accounted for.
- Georgia will be without two of its top defensive players today. Linebacker Michael Gilliard, who is tied for second on the team with 65 tackles, is listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. But based on his lack of work the past three weeks, I don’t expect to see him in the game. He’ll be replaced at Mike linebacker by former starter Christian Robinson. Starting defensive end DeAngelo Tyson is definitely out with an ankle injury suffered against Georgia Tech. Sophomore Garrison Smith of Atlanta will fill in, as he did in the SEC title game.
- For Michigan State, wide receiver Bennie Fowler and linebacker TyQuan Hammock are out with injuries.
- It will be the final UGA game today of cornerback/kick returner Brandon Boykin, center Ben Jones, tackles Justin Anderson and Cordy Glenn, tight end Aron White and fullback Bruce Figgins. It might also be the last game for juniors Orson Charles, Cornelius Washington and Bacarri Rambo, depending on what they decide with regard to entering the NFL draft.
- Georgia is 3-0 in the Outback Bowl but 3-1 in Tampa. The Bulldogs lost to Boston College 27-24 in the inaugural Hall of Fame bowl in 1986.